2016 Presidential Election
This year’s presidential election has turned into quite the spectacle. Candidates on both sides of the aisle have demonstrated a propensity to disagree on just about everything from the state of the economy to immigration, except for marijuana. While the three candidates currently in the running, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders have varying positions it comes to the legalization of marijuana, they all can agree to disagree and that in some way, shape, or form, it has a legitimate place in American society. Given the tumultuous political environment and the lack of consensus among the American public, it seems that marijuana has gained acceptance even among the upper echelon of politics.
The same can be said about any politician when it comes to their wavering political standpoint on various issues over their career, Trump has demonstrated that he is willing to depart from a majority of his constituents when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. It is important to mention that he has curtailed his position over the years into one of moderation now that he has had to tighten up his views as a member of the Republican Party. In stark contrast to his current viewpoint, Trump stated in 1990 that he was in favor of the legalization of all drugs when he mentioned, “We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war.” However, in 2015 when speaking to the Conservative Political Caucus, Trump changed his tune announcing his opposition to marijuana. “I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about that, they’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.” He was prompted later in 2015 when he provided a statement in Nevada, a state with a November 2016 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, when he said he would leave states alone. “If they vote for it, they vote for it. In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that it should be a state issue, state-by-state.” When asked about his personal position on legalizing marijuana, he claimed he is 100% in favor of medical marijuana, citing his personal awareness of those who have benefitted from the use of medical marijuana.
“I think it’s bad, and I feel strongly about that, they’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.”
Mr. Trump claims to have never smoked marijuana.
Hillary, along with Trump, has changed her melody in light of the recent public sentiment surrounding the legalization of marijuana. The former first lady advocates for the reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule II controlled substance in order to permit more research into the health benefits of marijuana. Like Trump, she has stated she will allow states to individually decide whether legalization is in their best interest calling states where marijuana is legal “laboratories of democracy.” She has further elaborated on her position with the following statement, “these statewide experiments can help us point the way to a national policy so I’ll continue the Obama Administration’s enforcement guidelines that allow states to experiment…I really think it’s important that states like Colorado lead the way so we can learn what works, and what doesn’t work, and I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people of Colorado…I want to give you the space and I want other states to learn from you, what works, and what doesn’t work.” She has also said, “We’ve got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana.”
“these statewide experiments can help us point the way to a national policy so I’ll continue the Obama Administration’s enforcement guidelines that allow states to experiment.”
Ms. Clinton claims she has never smoked marijuana, although Bill did, but did not inhale.
Bernie is the clear leader of the pack when it comes to his advocacy for the legalization of marijuana with comments such as, “The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.” In November of 2015 he introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in Congress, calling for the extraction of marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances Act, and for states to decide for whether they want to legalize marijuana, free from the auspice of the federal government, affirming “In my view, states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco…among other things, that means that recognized businesses in states that have legalized marijuana should be fully able to use the banking system without fear or federal prosecution.” Sanders also pointed out that marijuana businesses should be entitled to the same tax deductions as any other business enterprise.
“The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.”
Mr. Sanders has admitted to smoking marijuana.
Fortunately, those who were previously in the presidential race that opposed the legalization of marijuana in any capacity are no longer in the running. While it may be a coincidence that those who have staunchly opposed the legalization of marijuana are no longer in the mix, it is evident by and large that the American public has become more accepting of marijuana, the times, they are a changin’.